The Journey to a more sustainable world

The Climate-KIC Journey is the world’s largest climate innovation summer school offering transformative learning and hands-on business experience. 

By Rebecca Amalie Skogø

“What we now are starting to see, is that people have come to understand that we need to make some changes so we don’t completely mess up the world’s future. Big changes need to happen in business and industry, many of our current systems need to be improved, or even replaced, to become more sustainable. However, the ideas and new solutions to drive these changes have to come from somewhere”, says project manager Erik O’Donnell.

Since 2016 Engage and NTNU have been part of The Journey, Europe’s largest summer school for sustainable business ideas. Approximately 400 students from all over the world are carefully selected each year to be part of the four week program. The goal is to create new green business ideas and start a dialog about climate innovation. For 40 participants, two of these weeks will be spent with Engage in Trondheim while they develop their ideas.

The Journey in 2018

The change we need

Engage’s part in The Journey is to develop what it means to be a entrepreneur today and what role sustainability plays in the future. Today young people view innovation as a way to change society, and Engage is there to provide motivated, skilled people with the tools and the platform for green business opportunities. It is part of a necessary shift, and in this shift there is need for entrepreneurship and expertise.

The younger generations wants to do something, but what can you do? You might feel a sense of being powerless; you can’t really do what you want or you might not know how to do it. Many are often struggling, they are solving a technical problem without anyone seeing the real value of the solution. There must be cooperation between both legislation and innovation. We’re here to give people a platform so the road might be a little easier.

– Erik O’Donnell

Sustainable, but profitable

Even though sustainability is the main focus, it’s important that the ideas are viable business ventures while still maintaining a green mindset. It has to be good for the environment, economically feasible, and the market must be ready – someone actually must want to use it. If you make a sustainable product or service that nobody wants to use, it won’t be adopted, and then there’s no impact towards sustainability.

“Engage shares everything we know about business creation. We offer intensive courses in everything from business development and design thinking, to marketing, pitching and other relevant topics. We want to teach the skills that make it easier to recognize potential opportunities, with the idea that they can analyze their new ideas with both sustainability, accessibility and viability in mind”, says O’Donnell.

After the groups second week in Trondheim, the participants travel to their last destination where they will pitch their ideas in a showcase community event. They’ll receive feedback and network with other Journey teams, Climate-KIC partners, alumni and industry experts.